T351 Fall 2013 Part 3

T351 Fall 2013  Unit III Project:  20th/21st–century Forum (pro/con) on contemporary music  (& paper)

New music — issues and problems for discussion & critique (pro & con)
 “In Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven’s time, classical music was the popular music.  Today there is a separation between the Classical music and Pop music.”
“Most new musical ideas are not accepted until years after [they are] written down.”
“Band music instead of orchestra.”
“Form, technology, instruments (new).”
“Reason for writing and creating the piece.”
“Connecting to contemporary compositions.”
“Markings on compositions.”
“Amount of modern media vs. past media (internet, youtube, downloading. . .)
“The inaccessibility of music:  when did classical music become so inaccessible to the “common man/woman (sic)?”
“How does the artist’s image affect how we listen to their music?”
“How does technology affect how we perceive both popular and 20th/21st-century classical music? 
“Are we shaped by media as the bourgeois was affected by the monarchy?
“Who decides what’s popular and what isn’t?”
“Finding an audience for modern music / being able to expose the public to enough music so that they will find something they will like.”

 

Further questions for study & comparison:

1.     A.  Related to the essay by Robert Morgan or by Jonathan Kramer on analyzing recent contemporary music. Analyzing recent music involves a reorientation and rethinking of traditional analysis. Recent compositions suggest that each work may be based on a particular system or set of ideas uniquely its own. Compare two different works from the listening list from this perspective (intention, realization and perception, and context).

B. What aspects indicate that a work is more post-modernist in its artistic aesthetic in contrast to aspects that would indicate a modernist aesthetic? Compare & contrast with reference to specific works encountered in this unit.

2.       Describe and contrast several ways in which composers (e.g., Varèse, Messiaen, Cage) forecast musical developments after WW II in their music. Give specific examples from pieces studied.

3.       Describe three stylistic aspects of Varèse's Ionisation (cite specific examples). What aspects might have anticipated the emergence of the electronic medium as a viable medium for musical composition.

4.       For Varèse, discuss a specific organizational, structural, or sonic aspect of the music and indicate one way in which the composer's conception or treatment is innovative.

5.       Define the following items and indicate how they might be applied to the Messiaen movements studied (mvts. 1 & 6): isorhythm, talea, color, non-retrogradable rhythm, added rhythm, modes of limited transposition, "abolition of time." Give specific examples of both pitch and rhythmic procedures in movement 1.

6.       Describe several methods in which sound masses might be musically achieved.   Also consider the implications of using either precisely specified notation or indeterminate notation. Cite compositions and composers which employ precise or indeterminate notation of sounds and sound masses (e.g., Ligeti, Varèse, in comparison to Berio (Sinfonia II & III), Crumb, etc.).

7 . Indeterminacy (the lack of knowledge about the outcome of an action) is a concept important for compositional developments after WW II. Give musical examples of indeterminacy (composer, work studied, aspect of indeterminacy) in the areas of composition, performance, and notation (pitch, time, form, and other aspects). In the case of, for example, Ligeti ), what elements are fixed by the composer and which elements are left to the performers? Distinguish clearly between improvised music and chance music. How do the approaches of Reich, Glass, Adams differ in their treatment of indeterminacy? Explain briefly.

8. In the works by for example, Ligeti, musical events result primarily from changes in sonority, timbre, intensity, and texture, rather than pitch. Discuss several compositional examples. Briefly characterize the treatment of rhythm in each piece.

9 . Discuss at least two ways in which works studied by Messiaen, Reich, Crumb (or other composers) suspend or alter a traditional meaning of musical time in western music.

10. The emphasis of many recent works has shifted from melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic dimensions to those of texture and timbre. Discuss this idea in relation to stratification and changing textures and timbres (treatment of register) in a work studied by Varèse, Ligeti. Cite specific musical examples.

11. Incorporating the audience as part of the performance, removing the borders between arts. How has the perception and interaction with the avant garde changed over the last 30 years? (contexts of reception, e.g., Michael Daugherty, Berio, etc.).

12. Compare and contrast the treatment of the text in the vocal works studied by Ligeti, Berio, etc.). Describe the innovative treatment of the voice/language, the dramatic situaton, or of musical organization in each.

13. Tradition and eclecticism: describe ways that composers draw on and transform older or indigenous musical genres and styles. Consider: Corigliano, Berio, Daugherty, etc.

14. Experimental "traditions" of 20th-century music have challenged our traditional notions of what constitutes music. Discuss three aspects of a conventional definition of music which have been altered, expanded, or reevaluated due to recent musical developments. Cite musical examples to support your ideas.

15. Discuss aspects of art music in popular or rock music, or jazz and vice versa--Björk, Charles Mingus.  

16. Tradition and eclecticism: describe ways that composers draw on and transform older musical genres and styles. Consider: Corigliano, Berio, Daugherty, etc.

17. Experimental "traditions" of 20th-century music have challenged our traditional notions of what constitutes music. Discuss three aspects of a conventional definition of music which have been altered, expanded, or reevaluated due to recent musical developments. Cite musical examples to support your ideas.

18. What issues are important to consider in understanding the differences between American vs. European compositional practices, e.g., Corigliano and Crumb vs. Berio and Messiaen.   Also consider aspects of the music/cultural aesthetic and how they may be different from that of the western concert music tradition.

19. Music and war: the experience of the world wars (particularly World War II) had a profound impact on composers--discuss with particular reference to the music of Messiaen, Penderecki, and Shostakovich.

20. Film examples. Compare/consider Björk's treatment of the Overture theme in Dancer in the Dark.   Discuss several ways that music in film (soundtrack, sound effects, dialogue) can interact with or enhance the visual image.

21. What 5-10 pieces would you choose for your "personal" choice of a canon for contemporary music of the last 20-25 years. Relate your choices (pro & con) to some of the themes we have covered in 20th/21st-century music literature and analysis this semester, and explain why you made those choices.
**Note: a "canon" represents a standard of judgment that makes a collection or list of pieces accepted as authentic, & significant, etc.  What ideas do you have of works that would be essential for the "common practice" of 20th-century music -- or those essential to the many styles covered in the 20th century.  One could also argue that the notion of a "stable" canon or "common-practice" in the 20th century begins to break down, or is no longer viable (if so, support this position with specific examples as well)

 


Listening & Written Tests -- Review sheet-- under construction

Listening and Written Test: questions will be in "short answer format." We will do the Listening Test first, then take a short break and complete the Written Test. [see playlist for T351 exam 3 - items on Variations2, other items in oncourse/resources]

Written Test: you will also have a choice of one essay question out of a list of several questions. Outline four different points you would make in an essay discussing the most significant aspects of that topic.

Score examples possible for written test (musical style, key terms & concepts):   scores are in Oncourse/resources or in Roig-Francoli Anthology

•  Varèse, Ionisation (score excerpts in T351 course pak)

•  Messiaen, Quatour pour le fin du temps, Mvts. I & VI (VI: score in oncourse) (Variations2 score)

•  Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110, Mvt. V (notes on website; score in oncourse and marked score in oncourse/resources)

•  Crumb, Black Angels (score exs. in oncourse, Nos. 5, 8 & 9)

 

Music Listening & Analysis - Themes & compositions

•  The treatment of time, repetition and formal process:

•  Minimalism (Aesthetic & Technique): compare & contrast pieces by Björk, Adams, Reich,

•  Treatment of time (and/or meter & rhythm): Messiaen, Crumb

•  The treatment of voice & text-music relationships (texture, sound, and/or quotation):

•  The composer's compositional framework: tradition, eclecticism, and musical borrowing (interaction of stylistic practices, idioms, and influences; jazz, popular, cultural/national, avant-garde or 'art/concert music' styles)

•  Berio (Sinfonia)

•  Björk vs. Michael Daugherty (Dead Elvis) vs. popular/vernacular example (e.g., Charles Mingus)

•  The treatment of texture and sound or sound mass

•  Penderecki & Ligeti

•  Messiaen Quartet for the end of Time, I & VI

•  Varèse (Ionisation)

•  The treatment of tonality, form, and genre

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•  American (vs. European, etc.) trends and identities

•  Corigliano, Crumb, vs. Berio, Messiaen, Shostakovich, and

•  Musical aesthetic -- how are works related to or different from that of the Western "art"/"concert" music tradition (or as related to particular mediums, e.g., film music)

•  A "canon" or "common practice" of recent 20th/21st-century music

 

Sample questions for both tests:   (also see the handout sheets from the class presentations and the materials in the T351 text)

Questions related to individual presentations: send questions from your presentation

Luciano Berio:

Steve Reich:
1. What is the term for rhythmic patterns that occur from phasing and cannot be notated? (resultant patterns).

George Crumb:
1. What pitch class collection serves as important motive of Crumb's composition? (016) Present one or two explanations as to why this motive is important.
2. What concept employed by earlier 20th-century composers does Crumb use in Black Angels?
3. Crumb had a natural fascination with numerology. What numbers does Crumb highlight in his piece and how are they significant?
4. Name three different instrumental or timbral aspects which make this particular work of Crumb's unique.


John Corigliano: